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Full text of "Tuberculosis : (consumption)"

Prevention is better than cure and far cheaper 

The San Francisco Association for 

the Study and Prevention of 

Tuberculosis 



TUBERCULOSIS 



(CONSUMPTION) 



1547 JACKSON STREET 

Between Polk and Larlcin 

PHONE FRANKLIN 3293 



TUBERCULOSIS 

Tuberculosis is one of the most widely spread diseases that affects 
humanity. Consumption is tuberculosis of the lungs. In the City 
of San Francisco consumption causes 15 per cent of all deaths, 859 
persons dying of this disease in the year 1910. 

The relation of deaths from it to those from the two next most 
prevalent contagious diseases, and their relative power for robbing 
the State of happiness and wealth is expressed partially by these 
proportional lines: 

Tuberculosis of the Lungs, 859 deaths in San Francisco, 1910. 



— — Typhoid Fever, 68 deaths in San Francisco, 1910. 
-^— — Diphtheria, 38 deaths in San Francisco, 1910. 

Be careful to avoid tuberculosis-infected air and houses as you 
are water and milk contaminated by typhoid germs. 

Consumption causes one death in every three occurring between 
the ages of twenty and. forty. Thus it finds most of its victims at 
the active working age, and carries off young men and women just 
entering upon the serious work of life, fathers and mothers of 
families, bread-winners and citizens at their most useful period. 
Consumption is more prevalent in certain climates and among 
certain races, but it spares no nation, no age, no occupation, no 
class of people. 

Consumption is a preventable and a curable disease. 

Consumption can be prevented. It can be cured, if taken in time. 
It is not necessary to leave San Francisco to be cured. All autho- 
rities now subscribe to the views advanced by Hippocrates, the 
father of medicine, who lived 460-377 B. C, viz., "If the patient 
(consumptive) is treated from the beginning he will get well." 

2 



NATURE OF THE DISEASE. 

The cause of tuberculosis is a living germ — a tiny plant which 
can be seen only through the microscope. 

This germ, called bacillus tuberculosis, usually gets into the body 
by way of the mouth, when we are improperly using it, instead of 
the nose, to breathe through, or when we put something into our 
mouths which is contaminated through previous use by a con- 
sumptive. 

Tuberculosis germs most "frequently lodge in the air-passages of 
the lungs. They may also get into the glands of the neck, attack 
the throat, the bowels, kidneys, brain or other organs, or the bones 
or joints. It is always the same germ working in the same way to 
destroy different tissues. If the workings of the germs are not 
stopped, the capacity of the lungs and other organs to do their work 
is gradually reduced until death results. 

If it were not for the power that vigorous people, living healthy 
lives, possess to resist disease in general, it is probable that con- 
sumption would kill off whole communities. It is hardly possible 
that any single inhabitant of a city, where many have consumption, 
could entirely escape breathing into his lungs some living germs of 
the disease. Fortunately in the fresh air and sunshine these germs 
live only a short time, while in an ordinary room kept dark and close 
they may live months or even years. 

In the organs of the body when the germs are not killed imme- 
diately they produce little lumps called tubercles. In the lungs 
these grow, soften, break open and are expelled by coughing or 
otherwise. An ulcer or cavity containing many of the disease 
germs is left behind. In cure, nature builds a wall of -scar tissues 
about the tubercle or cavity. This wall becomes gradually thicker 
and thicker, growing towards the center until nothing is left but a 
scar. This means perfect cure. 

Until the scar tissue has thoroughly choked out the bacilli, it may 
break down at any time, leaving the bacilli free to continue their 
action at that place; then a relapse ensues. 

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NOT INHERITED. 

Many will be comforted to know that the disease is not inherited, 
as it was long thought to be. The children of parents who are 
consumptive or otherwise run down and weakened, frequently 
inherit narrow chests, a low vitality, or generally poor physique. 
If they are not especially cared for and protected against infection 
they are very likely to get the disease. Such children, and persons 
who are regaining health and strength after illness, or who are 
engaged in dusty work, should guard and build up their health 
systematically and persistently. President Roosevelt is a prominent 
example of one who developed a poor physique into an exceptionally 
fine one. 

The cases of so-called "hereditary consumption" are due to the 
disease being transmitted from one afflicted member of the family 
to another, either directly through personal contact, or through the 
medium of dirt and dust in the infected rooms. 

THE DANGER OF CARELESS SPITTING. 

"No one in health spits." — Dr. Flick. 

Except when one gets something nasty, like an insect or tobacco 
in the mouth, this is true. Many get into the habit of spitting and 
so wasting the saliva, which is meant to keep the mouth clean and 
to aid in digestion. Do not spit unnecessarily. When it is neces- 
sary, spit into a spittoon, a spit-flask, a cloth or paper that can be 
burned. Less safe than these, but far better than the floor or side- 
walk, is the gutter. Remember that while your spit may be only 
nasty and not dangerous, some one else who has a contagious disease 
that is commonly spread in this way, such as tuberculosis or 
diphtheria, is likely to follow your example. 

If women should spit as commonly as men do, how noticeable and 
disgusting it would be ! 

The consumptive in himself is almost harmless. He becomes harm- 
ful usually through bad habits, which are due, as a rule to ignorance. 
The consumptive at home or who walks about, works in offices or 

4 



shops, will not transmit his disease to those with whom he comes in 
contact if he takes proper care of his spit. 

THE VALUE OF FRESH AIR. 

The value of fresh air cannot be overestimated. Fresh air con- 
tains much oxygen ; bad air very little. Blood is made red and pure 
by breathing in the oxygen of fresh air. New body tissue is built 
out of such blood. It makes the muscles active and the brain quick. 
Therefore do not work or sleep where there is no fresh air. Do not 
stay in a theater, church, or other meeting place where your lungs 
are starved and poisoned for want of it. Breathe through your 
nose. That is what it is for. It smells bad air and so warns you. 
It filters out the dust and germs from the air breathed through it. 
The mouth has no filter for air, so those who breathe through it load 
their lungs with dirt and are more apt to get sick. 

CONDITIONS FAVORING THE SPREAD OF 
TUBERCULOSIS. 

It has been found that the vast majority of those infected are 
persons who have lived unhj^gienic lives, or who are compelled, in 
order to gain a livelihood, to work amidst unhealthful surround- 
ings, or too long hours. Healthy persons, living a proper life, when 
infected, frequently get over the disease so easily that they do not 
even know that they had it. 

Overcrowded, poorly ventilated houses, offices and workshops, 
inactive occupations with lack of regular exercise in the fresh air, 
trades causing much dust which, irritating the lungs, produce a 
condition favorable to the growth of the germ. Continued ex- 
haustion from overwork, poor food and insufficient clothing, 
uncleanness, and especially intemperance, are all factors in pre- 
disposing persons to consumption ; but it must be remembered that 
nothing can actually cause consumption except the entrance of the 
germ into the body. Consumption is common in persons living 
indoors and where thore is not enough fresh air. It is rare among 

5 



those living out of doors and sleeping in rooms well supplied with 
fresh air. 

No matter where the germs are, on floors, sidewalks, cars, on 
clothing or dishes, they are helped to live by dirt, dampness and 
darkness. On the other hand, sunshine, pure air and cleanliness are 
most valuable means of resisting and destroying the infection and 
preventing the disease. Keep your premises clean. Have a 
thorough spring and fall house-cleaning every year. 

Houses and rooms occupied by consumptives often become so 
infected with its germs that healthy persons afterwards occupying 
them often get consumption. Such rooms should, therefore, be dis- 
infected and renovated before being used again. 

In San Francisco there are many houses which have had cases of 
tuberculosis in succession. Such houses may fairly be said to be 
seats of infection and will probably continue to give consumption 
to their tenants until thoroughly disinfected and renovated. 

The only sure way of preventing the infection of premises or other 
persons directly is to carefully put all the germ-filled sputum out of 
harm's way by burning it. 

Do not dread being near a careful, clean consumptive. Do not 
regard this disease as contagious to the same extent as small -pox, 
diphtheria or scarlet fever. Much harm has been done through 
unwarranted fear of the consumptive, which has caused him to be 
avoided as a leper. Consumptives are only a source of danger 
through discharges from diseased tissues — chiefly the sputum, 
usually called spit — and if these are destroyed, ordinary contact 
with consumptive patients is practically free from danger. 

It has been proved that there is no infection in the ordinary 
breath of a consumptive. But the mouth should always be covered 
with a handkerchief or paper to catch the dangerous spray when 
coughing or sneezing. 

CONSUMPTION IS CURABLE. 

Consumption is curable when wise treatment is begun early. 
The first symptoms of the disease may be loss of appetite and 
steady loss of weight, fatigue on slight exertion, general feeling of 

6 



langour, lack of energy and ambition, rapid pulse, fever in the 
afternoon and evening, and a cough which is most noticeable in the 
morning. The cough may have existed for months with no evident 
injury to the general health; a slight, hacking cough, usually worse 
in the morning, may have occasioned so little annoyance, that the 
patient will deny having a cough at all or will remember it only 
after careful questioning. Consumption often follows pneumonia, 
"grip," measles, and whooping cough. 

As the disease progresses the symptoms become more distinctive. 
The evident wasting, the daily fever, the flushed cheeks, the night 
sweats and the continued cough and spitting, and determination 
that there are bacilli in the sputum indicate definitely the presence 
of the disease. 

Bleeding from the lungs is a common symptom of consumption 
and often the first one noticed. 

Any or all of these symptoms should cause the patient to seek at 
once the most competent medical advice. The local Board of 
Health make examinations of sputum without charge. 

The best treatment is out-door life, rest and plenty of good food 
under careful and constant medical supervision. This can be much 
better carried out at a sanatorium than at home, while going away 
"into the country to board" without competent and detailed medical 
supervision is not advisable. 



The San Francisco Association for the Study 
and Prevention of Tuberculosis 

located at 1547 Jackson Street, between Polk and Larkin Streets, 
was organized in 1908. 

Clinics for worthy patients are held every morning from 8 :30 to 
10 a. m., and every Monday evening from 7 to 8 p. m. 

Our nurses visit the homes of patients and investigate the social 
conditions of the family, noting sun exposure, cubic air space, dis- 
posal of sputum, and facilities for outdoor treatment. 

To do all these things, we need money; for the success of the 
crusade against tuberculosis depends upon the financial aid it 
receives. 

Do your share by becoming a member of this Association, or at 
least obtaining one member. 

Annual membership $1.00 

Life membership $100.00 

Donations of any amount received. 



Please enroll me as an Active Member of San Francisco Associa- 
tion fot the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis. I agree to 
pay $ annually. 

Name 

Address 

Mail to 1547 Jackson Street, San Francisco, Cal.